Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

Deborah L. West

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to evaluate the perceptions of educators about the level of family engagement occurring in rural Appalachian Kentucky schools with middle grade students. The research contributes to the field of rural family engagement studies by providing baseline metrics of educator perceptions on the current level of family engagement. The sample consisted of 95 educators working in Appalachian Kentucky public school districts with middle grade students. The educators were asked to respond to questions on four dimensions of family engagement. The dimensions of family engagement surveyed were: Communication, Family Support, School Decision-making and Advocacy, and Partnerships. The possible responses were 1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=agree, and 4=strongly agree. Findings indicated that educators working in Appalachian Kentucky schools perceive a moderate level of family engagement. The communication subscale had the highest mean score (3.42), and family support had the lowest mean score (3.05). There were no significant differences in the level of family engagement between educators with more than five years of experience as compared to educators with less than five years of experience. There were no significant differences in the reported level of family engagement between K-8 schools and schools with 6th to 8th grade students only. The most significant finding of the study is the inverse relationship between higher levels of perceived family engagement and the school’s free and reduced lunch percentage to the school’s accountability score.

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